Fifteen years ago, during his first term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coined the guiding principle for his negotiations with the Palestinians: “If they give -- they will get.” Now a new Palestinian modus operandi is emerging. They have opted for unilateralism. Namely, they will try to achieve their goals by means of international pressure.
The Palestinians know full well that despite successfully rallying international support for the need for a Palestinian state, the equation of give-get is now so deeply rooted that everyone is expecting them to reciprocate with a concession of their own -- dropping the demand for the right of return and recognizing the state of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. This is both beyond the will and capability of the Palestinian leadership, which explains why they decided to change course. Now they can just grab what they want without pledging anything to the other party.
But if we fail to make it clear to the Palestinians that they might suffer a defeat in their pursuit of unilateralism, they might ratchet up pressure on Israel. Over the past 20 years Israel has handed over a substantial amount of disputed land, but this did not deliver any progress on the state's national or security objectives in the relinquished areas.
It is time to take a page from the Palestinians' playbook. We should gradually annex Judea and Samaria. As a first step, Israel might annex the settlement blocs that enjoy across-the-board legitimacy among Israelis. It is time that those who try to grab things away from us come to the realization that we have a new mantra. We are simply going to respond in kind: You grab -- we grab.
MK Zeev Elkin serves as the chairman of the coalition in the Knesset and the head of the Likud parliamentary faction.